GFF are a relatively recent innovation, a 21st century light-weight construction material that requires substantial R&D and investment. GFF are used in numerous applications for their combination of lightness and strength, including marine (boat hulls and decks), vehicle body panels (e.g. trucks, trains), windmill blades, pipes and tanks, ski and snow-boards, pipes and tanks, and leisure vehicles.
EU glass fibre fabrics producers are now losing market share and profitability at alarming rates. This situation is not sustainable. GFF imports from China and Egypt increased by 33% between 2015 and 2018 whereas their prices decreased by 14%. Furthermore, over 80% of all GFF imports into the EU in the last year came from China and Egypt. The EU industry has increasingly lost market share since 2015 to these unfairly traded imports. Overall, the market share of the EU industry dropped from 73% in 2015 to 68% in 2018 due to dumping from China and Egypt. At the current rate of EU market penetration by dumped and undercutting glass fibre fabrics, the EU industry will not be able to generate the reasonable profits that would allow them to survive.
Chinese GFF producers have substantial state-subsidised overcapacities. The Chinese GFF and glass fibre industries are heavily promoted by the Chinese Government. Chinese GFF capacities increased from approximately 812,000 MT in 2015 to 925,000 MT in 2018. The European Commission found in previous investigations that prices of GFR (glass fibre reinforcements – the main raw material of GFF) are heavily distorted by Chinese government subsidies. Chinese GFR producers were found to benefit from preferential loans, tax exemptions and rebates and the provision of goods and services for less than adequate remuneration. Subsidisation to the GFR and GFF industries has continued unabated.
Related to the Chinese Jushi Group, Hengshi Egypt Fiberglass Fabrics is the only manufacturer of GFF in Egypt. As is Jushi Egypt, Hengshi Egypt is located in the China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, a special economic zone set up under an agreement between the governments of China and Egypt and controlled by a Chinese government agency to foster China’s outward expansion. Hengshi Egypt and Jushi Egypt receive substantial subsidies both directly and indirectly from the Egyptian Government, including those made by Chinese state-owned banks pursuant to the arrangements between the government of Egypt and the government of China. Between 2016 and 2018, when the plant was fully operational, Hengshi Egypt’s exports to the EU skyrocketed.
In light of alarming market conditions, the European Commission launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of certain woven and/or stitched glass fibre fabrics originating in the People’s Republic of China and Egypt on 21 February 2019, which was published in the Official Journal 2019/C 68/09. The investigation should be concluded no later than 14 months from this date (i.e. latest 21 April 2020) and provisional measures may be imposed normally from 7 to 8 months (i.e. November – December 2019).
The European Commission then followed with an anti-subsidy investigation concerning imports of certain woven and/or stitched glass fibre fabrics originating in the People’s Republic of China and Egypt on 16 May 2019, which was published in the Official Journal 2019/C 167/07. The investigation will be concluded within normally 12 months, but not more than 13 months of the date of the publication of this Notice (i.e. latest 16 June 2020). Provisional measures may be